Monday, November 9, 2009

A Capital Idea To Trim Down The New York State Budget

This past weekend I went on a tour of the New York State Capitol Building. It was sickening to hear about how much the project cost and how much money is poured into this building on a regular basis. For example, they recently spent two years converting two elevators from manual to automatic - $2 million down the drain.

The Senate's Chamber had glaring examples of both waste and common sense that can take place by our elected officials. The waste was obvious with the 23 carat gold leaf walls. I don't know how much money the melted down gold would sell for, but go ahead and put it toward the deficit. Remember that gold is at record highs (at least that's what the commercials are telling me). After I did some further reading, it appears that there is some of this gold leaf in the Executive Chamber as well - rip it all down!

The refreshing example came from the days of Teddy Roosevelt. There were sculpted flowers that were chiseled into the side of the room. There was a section that was only half finished, and there is good reason for it. Teddy had decided that this project was costing too much money and declared that the room was officially completed and no more work was to be done. If only the recent people in Albany had the same fiscal responsibility, we wouldn't have the mess that we do today. Pataki is to blame as well for all of his projects around the Capitol which added up to hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money.

The Flag Room seems to be a pretty well known room in the Capitol. I was delighted to hear that they are restoring hundreds (possibly up to a thousand) flags dating back to the Civil War for a price tag of $50,000 a flag! I'm all for historic preservation, but is it worth cutting the education budget, or forcing people to buy new license plates, or adding a deposit to water bottles, etc?!

In the end, I did enjoy the tour and learning about the history and the architecture of the Capitol, although I left feeling annoyed by the wasted money. I would like to see some type of investigation on Capitol specific expenses and how these can be minimized. If such a report exists (digitally) I would be interested to see it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How To Mark A Short Track Speedskating Course

Marking a Short Track

Items Needed:
  • Permanent Sharpie markers
  • Two tape measures (one at least 100m long and one at least 10m long)
  • 1" drill
  • Router with ¾” bit
  • Surving flags
  • Paint
  • Straight edge (pipe or 2 X 4 board) that is at least 2 meters long.

Note: This is a three hour job for two people just to set the track. You will need another 2 hours to mark off the alternate track start lines! Consult your handbook for diagrams to supplement these intstructions!

First spot check ice thickness at starting area, and block area to make sure it is not too thin or thick. Hopefully it will be a constant thickness.

Place the surving flags in hole at the points that you measure off. This is done so that you can see the track to make sure it is correct before drilling holes for the dots. If you don't do this you'll be sorry! Don't start filling in the holes until all holes are drilled and checked. Use paint, not paper dots or tape - paint lasts longer and you can fill the holes to the top.

1. Find dead center of the mid-ice red line and dead center of goalie crease redline (the thin red line at the back of the crease that runs from dasher board to dasher board). With zero at center ice, pull the tape measure to the center of the goalie crease and go back and mark off the following points:
4.425 meters (47' 4")
* Which will be the center point of your main track radius.
* Use a red dot for this spot.

Then continue towards the goalie crease and mark off the following measurements:

* 22.425m (73' 7")
* This is the apex block on the red track.

As long as the tape is traight and tight, you can mark off the other tracks at 1 meter distances:

20.425, 21.425, 22.425, 23.425, 24.425

85 ft = 25.908M / 2 = 12.954M

2. Now go back to the center ice red line and mark off 8 meters (26' 3") to the right and left. Also, mark off 6.5 meters on the finish line side. I would mark these two points with a flg. Now go to the red goalie line and do the same. Mark these points with flags. What you now have is a perfect rectangle. You need this because in setting block #1 and #7, you may veer too far one way or the other. Trust me, that this is critical!

3. Go back to the 8 meter flag at center ice and stretch out the tape as you did in your first measurement running it all the way to the 8 meter flag at the goalie line. It will now become obvious to you as to why this is necessary. This time mark off the point at 14.425 meters. This will be the red track block #1 or #7 (whichever one you do first). Leave the tape right there and mark off the other tracks with flags.

4. Repeat this process for the other side to find block #7. Now you have three blocks set.

5. Now you need to go to the radius center point which you already set at 14.425 meters. You are now going to find the red track blocks: #2, #3, #5, #6. You are not finding the other tracks - yet! The radius is 8 meters (26' 3"). With another tape measure, set at 8 meters, go to the red track block #1 and find where the two tapes intersect. This intersection will give you a precise placement of block #3. When you go to the other side at block #7, the intersection will give you block #5. Move the tape to the apex block on the red track and find the intersection for red track blocks #2 and #6.

6. Now you will need to find the other tracks for blocks 2, 3, 5, 6. Using your straight edge and marking reasonably sure it is parallel to the dasher boards, you can set your other blocks.

7. Do the same for the other end of the arena.

8. Drilling the holes - the points found are the edge of the track. The holes should not go beyond the measure points. THey should be tangent to the measured points.

Alternate Start Lines

Items Needed:
  • Router
  • Chalk Line
  • Tape measure
Please note that the main start/finish line is supposed to be the very beginning of the red line, not the middle of it or the end of it. Your skate tip should just touch the red l ine. Use the router to make a well defined edge and use red masking tape.

With that in mind, when you go to the opposite side of the rink for the 500, 611 and 1500M races, you must also consider the start line as the first part of the red line.

1. From the beginning of the red line, measure the other starting lines for each track at two meter offsets. There is no specific order as to which is which. Just make sure they are consistent with your dot color pattern.

2. Using the chalk line, strike these lines. Use a 3/4 inch router bit set about 1/2" deep to cut a straight line. Put masking tape in the cut groove and cover with slush.

3. If you left those market flags in the ice, you will know how far to go to reach the proper start position. Running the tape measure from the flag to the dasher boards, you should drill the first dot at 37.5cm from the flag. From that point, then drill start position holes every additional 75cm until you reach the dasher boards. This will give 6 to 8 positions depending on the size of your rink. For 85 ft wide rink, you get 6 positions (37.5, 112.5, 187.5, 262.5, 337.5, 412.5 cm).
7.5, 412.5, CM

4. The finish line starts 6.5 meters from the center of the ice and extends to the boards. Use a black line for this. If you are going to be skating time trials it is a good idea to have alternating starting lines on both sides, or at least one dot in the middle of the track indicating the offset poisition and track color.

5. You do not need pre-start yellow lines.

There you have it as prepared by Mark Jastrzembski and revised by Jim Cornell
Version 8/17/05

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Perl Foundation - Head of Public Relations Comittee

Within the past few weeks I've been voted into the Perl Foundation's role of Public Relations. This will grow into more than a one man operations and hopefully grow into an entire team of eager volunteers. This will be a great opportunity (and challenge) to try and change the public's perception of Perl as an irrelevant language. There's a lot of people out there doing great things with Perl, and I plan on doing everything I can to promote their successes. Along with this, I will need to ensure that we are successfully represented in all aspect of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, etc).

If you're interested in participating in the advancement of the Perl language and community, feel free to contact me and I'll find a way for you to help out! :-)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sears Fail!

For those of you who missed it, or got to the site too late...

This was actually up on the Sears website for a brief period this morning (read the description of the product under the Sears logo) - classic!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hop Harvest!

Last night I started harvesting my hops. I picked about 70% of my crop and I'm hoping for another good round of hops by mid-late September (if the weather stays nice and warm). So far I've only had hop cone production on with the Cascades, but definitely a much better yield than I expected for first growth year.

Here are some pictures:

These are currently sitting in a paper bag behind a couple computers to dry them out before using them in a brew.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Magnabrew Hop Garden

Here's a picture that I took today of my hop garden. I'm assuming that due to the different duration of sunlight that each get, they are descending in size from left to right. Perhaps is has to do with one variety of hops doing better in the Buffalo climate - I'm not sure. I have three different varieties growing.

From left to right: Cascade, Mt. Hood, and Sterling

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Speedskating Dryland Workout - 6/29/2009

  • 4 SETS "ONE LEG SQUAT" (60 @ 51 PACE & 75" REST)
  • 4 SETS "SIDE TO SIDE DITCH" (75" @ 100 PACE & 75" REST)
  • COOL DOWN JOG (10')

Chestnut Ridge Park

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bankrupt Corporations As Boats/Ships...

A nice way to represent this data! Pretty amazing how big Lehman Bros actually was - GM is quite dwarfed in comparison, and Chrysler looks like a insignificant.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Belgian IPA @ 9AM

Drinking one of my Belgian IPA's at 9am - like any good 3rd shifter would do!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Buffalo's Homebrewing Events/Competitions

Unbeknown to me, there is a group events coming up this Spring/Summer for the local homebrewer. A couple of these seem to be new this year, while the Cole's IPA Festival is going on it's 3rd year. I plan on partaking in all these events.


Friday, April 24th - Beerology at The Buffalo Science Museum


May 30th - Pearl Street Brewmaster's Challenge


June 6th - Cole's 75th Anniversary Homebrewing Competition


Saturday, July 14th - Cole's 3rd Annual IPA Festival/Competition
  • No Entry Fee
  • Entry Form
  • Forms due June 30th
  • Submittions due by July 6th

Stay up to date with other Flying Bison related events

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

O'Reilly DBA Training Fail!


I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a joke or not, but perhaps they'll discuss what happened here!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Magnabrew's Hop Monastery (Belgian IPA)

Brew day today. It's been a real long time, but it's good to get back into it. My favorite beers are IPAs and Belgian Beers (Abbey Ales, Wit Ales, etc). I came across a recipe for a Belgian IPA, and I figured that I should master this (not officially a style of beer) genre. I liked the fact that the style is still under development, which allows me to experiment with it a little more - as seen by my derivation from the recipe I was trying to clone. Hopefully it will turn out alright!

Batch Size: ~3.00 gal (Did not sparge nearly enough)
Original Gravity: 1.079 SG (19% brix)
Sparge Gravity: 1.061 SG (15% brix)
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Mash Time: 90 Minutes
Target Temperature: 149 deg
Strike Water Volume: 3 gallons
Strike Temperature: 164 deg



5.00 lb German Pilsner (1.7 SRM)
3.00 lb UK Golden Promise (2.4 - 3 SRM)
2.00 lb Belgian Pale Malt (3.2 SRM)
0.75 lb Organic Brown Sugar


1.00 oz Hallertauer, New Zealand [8.6%] (60 min)
1.00 oz Styrian Goldings [2.0%] (20 min)
1.00 oz Saaz [5.8%] (20 min)
1.00 oz Tettnang [4.7%] (10 min)
1.00 oz Styrian Goldings [2.0%] (5 min)


Wyeast 1214 Belgian Ale Yeast Activator Pack

I currently have this sitting in the primary fermenter at a temperature of ~66 degrees. Now all I have to do is sit and wait for the yeast to do its work!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hey T.O, Welcome To Buffalo!

Quite a shock yesterday when I heard that T.O was signing with Buffalo. Last week when ESPN had a run through of all the teams that were not interested in him (with Miami and 49ers being the only ones who were interested) and I jokingly mentioned that this is the type of guy that the Bills need to pickup. The Bills never seem to pay these high profile guys, and tend to veer away from those with even the slightest of character issues. Sometimes overlooking "character" issues for the short term can allow for on field success, which the Bills desperately need.

I think this will be great for Lee Evans who will, for the first time, have a second receiver that can draw away some coverage from him. Marshawn and Fred Jackson should benefit from this as well. T.O is still a good player, regardless of his off field drama, and is definitely better than our current number 1, 2, and 3 WRs. I'm feeling pretty excited right now, but time will tell.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Good Quote To Live By...

"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even if chequered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory or defeat."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Consultant Says Buffalo Needs To Overhaul Parking System - Really?!?!

So let me get this straight. The city currently has a "Parking Board" yet they needed to hire outside consultants for ~$95,000 to tell the city that they should take over control of all parking and pay a Czar $140,000 a year to figure out a way to "improve" parking - because the City has a great track record of being efficient and getting the job done! We can't trust the private sector to handle our parking - that's what tax dollars are for!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Back To School

After about 4 years, I'm going back to UB to take CSE 422. I wanted to take this class while an undergrad, but unfortunately lacked the available time.

I'm looking forward to learning more about the FreeBSD kernel internals and improving my C coding skills. I'm hoping that we'll also get deep into ZFS and DTrace - but I'm assuming that these topics may not get as much attention as I would like. I guess that's why I have free time :-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Review : Zenoss Core Network and System Monitoring

I recently read "Zenoss Core Network and System Monitoring" by Michael Badger and from Packt Publishing. I was excited to hear that there was a book available that covered the Zenoss monitoring system in a more structured and step by step method (as compared with documentation found online). When I began with Zenoss, the documentation was very high level and left much to be desired. This generally caused me to spend a lot of time on IRC, in the forums, and trying to figure out what to do with the simplistic documentation that existed. This book is exactly what I was looking for when I started to venture into the world of Zenoss, and was a nice review for someone (like me) who is comfortable with the system. The book does a real nice job of giving an overview of the system architecture, then steps through each stage of an example installation and configuration, device and event management, generating reports, user management, transforms, etc.

I would also recommend this book for anyone who is new to network and system monitoring, as the book goes into the details of installing and configuring SNMP, WMI, Windows Event Logs, and Syslog.

This book is a must have for anyone who plans on using Zenoss or anyone that is wondering if Zenoss is the right monitoring solution for them.

You can find the book here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 Resolutions/Goals

Every year I like to asses where I am and where I want to get to. Below are my (high level) goals for the upcoming year.

* Master ZFS, DTrace and FreeBSD
* Give a presentation at a conference
* Sail on a regular basis
* Win a speedskating race
* Become proficient with an audio programming language
* Start a side business
* Start up regular meetings again for Buffalo Perl Mongers
* Maintain this blog with useful/interesting content (unlike its current condition)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Stocked Up The New Humidor

I just stocked up my new (Napoleon II) humidor that I got for Christmas. It looks a lot more sparse after moving from my 40 count. This one holds 150 cigars - which should suffice.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Libertarian Misunderstanding

This blog entry references the following blog post:

I think this guy is confusing neo-conservatism with Libertarianism. He talks about corporate welfare and unnecessary military spending through Republican presidents (none of which have followed true conservative or Libertarian policies). If this dude knew the difference between the current Republican Party and Libertarian Party, then he wouldn’t use them interchangeably. He also confuses corporate welfare with helping business (which of course fuels jobs and the economy). I’d like to know what companies are funding these “Libertarian Think Tanks” (especially big businesses who benefit from corporate welfare). Libertarians are against corporate welfare, which can’t be said for current Republicans and Democrats.

See how this guy interchanges Libertarian and Republican, and makes them appear as the same (which can’t be farther from the truth):

“There's already a lot of money in Libertarian think tanks; it comes from business. The explosion of dedicated Libertarian volunteerism necessary to transform the United States has yet to materialize, even though the Republican Party has harnessed an explosion of socially conservative volunteerism in the service of the same business interests that benefit from Washington's "Libertarian" bullshit factories. Money from business interests provides the only real political pressure pushing policy in a Libertarian direction.”

This guy needs to learn about Libertarianism and the Libertarian Party.

* NOTE - It appears that there are others who agree with me (and in much more detail):

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

ZFS - The Greatest Thing I Never Knew About

After hearing a lot of really good things about ZFS, I decided to give OpenSolaris and ZFS a try. After running into some issues with my install media, I decided it would be more fun to play with ZFS on FreeBSD. I began to dive in, but need to get myself some more SCSI drives.

At any rate, ZFS looks awesome. Better scalability, I/O, easy creation/manipulation of storage on the fly, redundancy, self healing, etc, than any RAID filesystem out there. This is very high level, but I plan on getting more indepth in the near future - time to buy some hardware!

For more info:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Email Hates The Living!

This past summer, at YAPC::NA, rjbs gave a great talk describing the idiocy of email RFCs and the headaches they create for people trying to write software that deals with email. It's too bad the camera was zoomed out too far, because it's staggering to see some of the "valid" headers.

Email Hates The Living Video

Here We Go Again!

...and thus begins yet another attempt at maintaining a blog.

Wish me luck!